can i install opensuse without formatting the "/" partition


i have a laptop in which i dont have a separate /home dir, now i dont have a place to backup my /home data at the moment and i want to try opensuse 11 when it is released.

so i hope that i can install opensuse from the live cd, by:

  • first mounting my “/” partition when running the live cd
  • then removing everything except my /home dir
  • rename my home dir so it is not in the way during the install process
  • installing opensuse 11 without formatting the “/” partition

is that possible?

It is, in the partitioner you can choose not to format / - you just have to choose custom partitioning during the installation.

be careful, i have a lot of problems with “don’t format root”
and u have to have some /home partition during installation, or u gonna have again /home on root - backup is important doing partition experiment

You could also do first and second steps and then resize the partition. Afterwards install 11 and mount (not format) /home in that resized partition.
You’d end up having two different partitions for / and /home.
Keep in mind resizing/moving partitions always implies a risk, even if small.

You can install one version over another without formatting, but you should expect seemingly random and unexpected behaviour from file remnamts. It’s best to backup important files and make a clean install.

However, with regard to /home, since it’s in a seperate partition, during installation you may select it as the location for /home (do not format) and use the same user name. Nothing will change in that partition. Only reformat the / (root partition).

Or, during installation, don’t even select the /home partition for any use; pretend it isn’t there. Install the systen in / (root partition). Create your user (use the same user name as in your current /home).

After installation, and before re-boot, edit /etc/fstab to add your /home partition to fstab then mount it. Reboot and all of your files should still be there.

You will have the new /home/<username> folder in /home (hidden under your mounted /home partition) which will hurt nothing. If it bothers you that it’s there, then boot a liveCD and mount the root partition. Delete that unwanted /home/<username> folder (leave /home empty - but leave /home in place. It’s the mount point for your home partition).

thanks for all the quick replies…

first: if i had a backup location, i’dn’t have started this thread (i have a backup, obviously, just not with me – i’m traveling)
second: my “/home” lives on partition mounted as “/” – this because i want to use all the limited space on my laptop.

then to bigrigdriver: you seem to answer my question by saying; yes it is possible but you should “expect seemingly random and unexpected behaviour from file remnamts”
– hmmm… im interested in what you call file ‘remnamts’, i dont really get it, yet i have decided not to reinstall until i find some backup space.


Good decision right now. Btw you didn’t bring a phone or a
camera on your journey? They mostly work excellent as usb-
memories, all you’ll need will be an empty memory card.

yeah i bring some, but i also bring 40gb of data (mainly music)… no other memory that size on me :wink:

Try opening the suse partitioner, then shrink /, and make another, mount it to is (eg) /futurehome

After a reboot, simply run

rsync -vua /home /futurehome

and everything should be backed up with proper permissions and symlinks still working